To Move is Grow: Ellis Island is Growing and Evolving

As humans we all need to keep moving, as to move is to grow. This universal truth is something all who pass through Ellis Island share. This truth motivated millions of immigrants to pass through Ellis Island when it served as a gateway to America. They were in search of a better life, like us today in search of a better career or a better future for ourselves and our families.

slide1The people who had to pass through Ellis Island in order to gain entry into America voluntarily travelled there to find a better life and have in return contributed significantly to the cultural fabric of America. In this same spirit, Save Ellis Island was formed. Save Ellis Island (SEI) in conjunction with the National Parks Service is rehabilitating and preserving 29 historic buildings that sit nestled in a park-like setting on the south side of Ellis Island.

The Storm at Ellis Island

The island was devastated by hurricane Sandy in 2012. We all pulled together, the young, the old, celebrities, everyday people, all with one goal in mind: to make sure the Ellis Island stories continue. With dedication, purpose and a strong vision for sharing Ellis Island and cultivating it as New York’s cultural hub of history, unique experiences, art and film. In 2014 never before seen areas of the island opened to the public for the first time since 1954.

Unframed by JR

 Facts about Ellis Island:

  •  Today, nearly 40% of Americans can trace their heritage to an immigrant who entered the country through Ellis Island.
  • More than 1 million immigrants were detained on Ellis Island for failing the cursory medical inspection mandated by federal immigration legislation.
  • In all, 12 million immigrants came through Ellis Island during its years as an immigration station.


In October 2014 we opened several buildings on the South End of the Island where the  The Ellis Island Hospital Complex, completed in 1909, consisted of a powerhouse, morgue, laboratory and housing for doctors and nurses. As part of the tour opening, an art exhibit, “Unframed – Ellis Island,” by renowned artist JR will be on display throughout the hospital complex. Visitors participating in the Hard Hat tour are able to touch, feel, and understand what they represent in a way that connects them to the past. As we rebuild parts of Ellis Island and you tour Ellis Island, we are rebuilding its legacy and revitalizing living landmarks to a world gone by.


Save Ellis Island has developed and implemented education programs for learners of all ages. In partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and many other prestigious institutions. SEI’s teacher professional development workshops about diversity and other immigrant related concepts that are both historical and highly relevant today have benefitted over 200,000 children throughout the United States.

About Save Ellis Island

Ellis Island mission

The Save Ellis Island Foundation is the designated partner by general agreement of the National Park Service (NPS), one of the nation’s most trusted and dependable organizations in preserving our historic and cultural landmarks.

Our goal is not to simply preserve buildings – although that is part of the foundation’s mission. Our goal is to assure that the values, concepts, discoveries and stories of Ellis Island are reinvigorated and their contributions promoted throughout the country. The story of Ellis Island is the story of America. The Save Ellis Island Foundation will give voice to that story both on the island and throughout America.

As a partner of the NPS we have the unique opportunity to complete the rescue of a place and its buildings in an attempt to shed new light on the central part of the American story. SEI has brought together preservationists, historians, civic leaders and thousands of average Americans from across the country who share the same goals to honor and celebrate a key part of America’s heritage; rediscover and promote American ideals and build a living institution that will apply the lessons of Ellis Island to future generations.

For all press enquiries please contact our dedicated team – 973-383-1080


From 1892 to 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered USA through the portal of Ellis Island in New York Harbor

We are part of America's story

Ellis Island tells the story of the journey of millions of men, women and children from around the world who sought a new future on these shores.

Walking around these buildings we're not just talking about history-visitors are able to touch, feel, and understand in a way that connects them to the past. As we rebuild parts of Ellis Island, we are rebuilding its legacy and revitalizing living landmarks to a world gone by. Save Ellis Island is working to create a destination that echoes the beacon of hope that it once was for nearly twelve million immigrants and continues to be for the nearly two million visitors each year.

Find out more

Our Supporters

The Save Ellis Island website is made possible by a generous donation from Heidi Liebi Root in memory of her father Fred Liebi